Friday, 14 September 2012

Dive 5 – St John’s Umm Aruk

This is one of my favourite dives in the St John’s area, simply because it is usually easy with little current and also because the numerous pinnacles and coral gardens are absolutely superb.

Umm Aruk Dive Plan

The plan is to jump off the back of the boat and then gently fin around the garden until we get sown to either our air or time limit.

Typical Pillar

Typical of the pillars is the above and you can work out the

More Pillars

scale from the divers in the photo. The pillars themselves are covered with mainly hard corals and more fish than you can believe.

Table Coral

There are numerous table corals – so called because they are flat and their shape enables the hard corals to put the largest surface area into the sunlight which gets down to them through the water and thus gain maximum food.

Fish hiding under table

Underneath Table Corals, one usually finds fish hiding from predators or hiding so that they can dart out and eat smaller fish as they unsuspectingly pass by.

Swarming with Fish

Fish life teams around the coral blocks

Fish everywhere

Large Wrasse

and larger fish prowl around looking for food

Two Nemos

Pairs of Nemos live in their own Anemone homes

Large Anenomes

and here we have a long sweep of different anemone clumps each lived in by a Nemo pair, often with juveniles. This sweep is about 3 metres tall and is one of the longest we have seen.

Moray 1 Moray 2

Morays live on the bottom and here, its personal Cleaner Fish can be seen near its mouth – the Moray does not eat it because it cleans its teeth and tends to any wounds it gets. Any other small fish which passes too close to the open mouth gets grabbed.

Red Coral

Soft and hard corals grow together

White Coral Pink Coral

and because the site is not very deep, there is no clear demarcation between the shallower depths where hard corals live and the depths where soft corals are predominant.

This is a beautiful site and is well worth a gentle explore when the conditions are right. Today there was no current, the last time I was here the current was very strong and making any tour of the pinnacles was extremely difficult, tiring and expensive in air.

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